The End of an Alaskan Empire
What needs to occur in order for an extremely prominent, popular, and powerful incumbent senator to lose his bid for re-election to a much lesser known politician? This paper chronologically analyzes the failed attempt of Ted Stevens to win re-election and return to the senate January 20th. Stevens held his seat in the senate for over forty years. He is the longest serving Republican in history. He is the seventh longest serving senator in United States history as well. He was extremely popular in his home state because of all the federal money he brought the state. The governor of Alaska Sarah Palin is a very popular Republican and ran as the Vice Presidential candidate. Ted Stevens was indicted and later convicted on corruption charges. Barack Obama won his presidential election by large margins brining in with him very long Democratic coattails. The current president is a Republican and has historically low approval ratings making the Republican Party unappealing to many voters. Although Ted Stevens was supposed to win re-election easily, he lost his re-election because of wide spread corruption, Democratic popularity and national disapproval of George Bush.
Conventional wisdom was that Stevens was going to win his Alaskan senate seat easily and without much trouble. Even though he made the words “bridge to nowhere” a household term and a Democratic talking point, he was extremely popular in Alaska.
Nationally many tax payers were angered that so much public money was given to Alaskans for needless or wasteful projects. This is known commonly as “pork barrel” spending. In Alaska, however, Stevens was often praised for brining in that same federal money and helping create both jobs and wealth for many in the state. Stevens had plenty of money donors and plenty of voters with a self interest in Stevens staying the senator of Alaska because of his pork barrel projects. Problems for Stevens began when...